TCU

Johnson says TCU men have ‘no choice’ but max effort vs. Kansas

Amric Fields, right, and the Frogs suffered a hard-fought 86-85 overtime loss Saturday against Daxter Miles and West Virginia.
Amric Fields, right, and the Frogs suffered a hard-fought 86-85 overtime loss Saturday against Daxter Miles and West Virginia. AP

Despite another physical game that took its toll on bodies, TCU is in no position to conserve energy.

Not right now, not with No. 9 Kansas coming to Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center on Wednesday.

“I think we’re going to come back and give maximum effort,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “I think we’re going to come back and play hard. We have to; we have no choice. If we don’t come back and play hard and play well, things aren’t going to go well.”

The Horned Frogs (14-5, 1-5) have battled two of the most physical teams in the Big 12, Texas and West Virginia, in the past two games, and now they face a Jayhawks team (16-3, 5-1) that is second in the league in rebounding during Big 12 play.

“This is the premier team in our league,” Johnson said. “Make no mistake about it.”

Johnson said he gave point guard Kyan Anderson a day off Monday so he could recover. But another part of the challenge for TCU is to bounce back mentally, as well as physically, from an overtime loss at West Virginia — a game that appeared nearly won for the Frogs in both regulation and overtime.

“This year, we haven’t done a good job of playing extremely hard and playing well and coming back the next game and playing with the same type of competitiveness and that same type of effort,” Johnson said. “So we’ve addressed it. The important thing is coming back and doing something about it. I’d be shocked, I’d be surprised, if we don’t play well.”

The Jayhawks’ offense, led by point guard Frank Mason III, ranks in the top half of the league in scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio.

But TCU can match up defensively on paper. Johnson hopes the intangible plays, which is where he is trying to make the Frogs stronger, can also make a difference.

“I think all of us talk about 50-50 balls, talk about deflections, disrupting rhythms,” Johnson said. “Charges are a great emphasis with us, being the aggressor, getting to 50-50 balls on the floor — you’ve got to have one, two guys around it, all those kinds of things. You talk about it; you have to talk about it from Day 1.

“You look at some of the good defensive teams in the country, they have a lot of guys who are capable of doing that.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

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